Refugees on the Move, the flagship African Artists for Development (AAD) program, is now preparing its next big step. After an extremely successful initial experience in Chad, AAD General Director Jean-Michel Champault, flew to the Central African Republic (CAF) to set the stage of the replication of Refugees on the Move in this country alongside the Central African choreographer Boniface Watanga.
Refugees on the Move is based on the incredible idea of using dance a social and cultural mediation tool within refugee camps. As part of the pilot project launched in the Southern Chad refugee camps of Moula and Yaroungou in November, the choreographer Taïgué Ahmed and his dancers also organized month-long sessions of dance workshops that led to a clear reduction in camp violence and an unprecedented increase in dialogue between refugee and neighboring populations.
In order to recreate this initiative and the success it met in Chad, Jean- Michel Champault first stopped in the Central African capital Bangui where he met with the UNHCR teams at their national headquarters and connected with Boniface Watanga. After spending one month in Chad alongside Taïgué Ahmed and his dancers, this Central African coordinator, actor and storyteller is finally ready to lead his own dance workshops in the refugee camps of this own country.
Boniface Watanga and Jean-Michel Champault then travelled to the west of the country to the UNHCR refugee camp at Batalimo, where the dance workshops will take place. At Batalimo, they were able to not only meet with the UNHCR employees on site but also the local authorities and refugees, all of whom were enthusiastic about the program and helped give a full picture of the various issues and problems facing the area.
The next step: the setting up of the first in a series of three month-long sessions of dance workshops in January 2013 by Boniface and his troupe of dancers while showing the ropes to choreographers from Burundi and Tanzania who will then carry the Refugees on the Move torch to their respective countries.